Productive Activities You Can Do With Your Downtime

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Having the day taken up by meetings and errands around town and not enough time to focus on business-related tasks can be a nightmare. But you know what I’ve heard from a lot of people that really bugs them more than the distractions? It’s productivity waste. Gap times.

Gap times are those short blocks of time (usually between 10 and 30 minutes) when you are stuck and cannot work on your business, but are not being productive in other ways either.

Transport is a classic example: it is one thing to spend your morning in meeting rooms – as frustrating as that may be – another thing entirely to be sitting in your car knowing that you can’t even effectively communicate.

Keep reading to discover my strategies to turn dead gaps into productivity time. But before we start – a disclaimer.

I’m a huge fan of downtime for downtime. I don’t like being busy just to “do something”. What I like about these ideas below is how it can turn frustrating times into something good, helpful, can reduce stress, and get you moving forward when you might think the time is lost.

My Go-To Gap Filler: Listening

Whether you are on the subway or need to keep your hands on the wheels and eyes on the road, podcasts and audiobooks are the go-to solutions when it comes to gap times.

Learning something new will keep your brain active, provide solutions to current challenges, and even become a source of inspiration for future ideas.

Listen to business guides, interviews, or even fiction. As long as your thoughts are engaged, anything will do.

Planning your playlist is key. Make sure to download your programs and have them cued up in advance so that you can listen offline and you never need to stop and look them up.

Gap Fillers for When You Can Focus

If you are not driving – think sitting on a bus or in the doctor’s waiting room, there is a world of possibilities opening up to you.

Reading is always a favorite, whether you like old-fashioned hardcovers or prefer the convenience of an e-reader. Are articles more of your thing? You may find apps like Pocket very useful: they have extensions for your browser that allow you to save interesting posts and articles to read later. Use tags to find items in your pocket collection.

If you wish to be more actively engaged and quantify your productivity, then online courses are for you. There are plenty of free massive sources of knowledge out there. More often than not, courses are run by established professionals with years of experience and you will be able to download videos and other course materials ahead of time so that connectivity never becomes an issue.

My favorite online course database right now is Coursera, which has anything from languages to machine learning.

Light admin is always an option, especially when you have an Internet connection. Get those emails out of the way before you even set foot in the office.

Final Tips for Best Productivity on the Go

No matter how you decide to make your gap time productive, always remember to:

  • Stay safe. What works for me may not work for you. If you feel that anything distracts you from driving, there is no reason to risk it. Find something that feels safe to you.
  • Plan ahead. Download your course before you leave the house, prepare your track list, charge your Kindle … don’t let lack of preparation ruin your productivity.
  • Track your time. It is always a good idea to track your time and productivity, especially when you are trying something new. See if you are actually progressing with your book, and keep your phone usage in check (we talked about checking your emails, not your Instagram feed!).


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